Sung in Italian with English supertitles
About this production
Rossini's take on the Cinderella story is no simplistic fairy tale. There's no pumpkin coach and no glass slipper, and in place of a fairy godmother there's a wise old philosopher who wants his handsome Prince to marry not just the fairest of them all but also the best and the kindest. Yet, while reason and realism prevail, there's no shortage of magical enchantment in Rossini's miraculous score, which happily marries high comedy and heartfelt emotion, before climaxing with one of the most dazzling coloratura showpieces in all bel canto opera. The critics adored Sir Peter Hall's 2005 Festival staging: "This is a performance that meets the Glyndebourne gold standard: understated, sensitive and thus deeply pleasurable" (The Daily Telegraph); "Sheer entertainment kissed by genius" (The Mail on Sunday). For this revival, we welcome back the stylish Spanish maestro Enrique Mazzola, conductor of L'elisir d'amore on the 2007 Tour.
Introducing the cast
The roles of Cinderella (Angelina) and her Prince (Don Ramiro) are taken by the young Canadian mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy of whose 2004 debut recital the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "If her future holds anything but stardom, I'll be very much surprised" and the high-flying Brazilian tenor Luciano Botelho, whose recent appearance at the Royal Opera won plaudits for his 'spirited and fresh-voiced' approach (Daily Telegraph). Jonathan Veira (our larger-than-life Falstaff on last year's Tour) and Paul Whelan (former Glyndebourne Chorus member and Marcello in La Bohème on the 1995 Tour) return as Cinderella's monstrous stepfather Don Magnifico and the wonder-working philosopher Alidoro.
The performance lasts approximately three hours including a twenty minute interval.
Scene 1 Don Magnifico’s castle
Tisbe and Clorinda, the daughters of Don Magnifico, are adorning themselves extravagantly, and indulging in ecstasies of self-admiration. Cenerentola, their stepsister, sings resignedly to herself as she does the housework. There is a knock at the door and Alidoro appears. He is in fact a philosopher and the Prince’s tutor, but at the moment he is disguised as a beggar, the better to observe human behaviour and to ascertain if any young girl in the region is a suitable wife for the Prince. When he asks for charity, the sisters order him out, but Cenerentola secretly gives him coffee and bread. Then a number of the Prince’s retinue announce that the Prince himself will shortly arrive and invite Don Magnifico and his daughters to a ball at which he will choose his future wife. While the stepsisters order Cenerentola to make preparations for their toilet, Don Magnifico enters in a dressing gown and night cap and relates a dream he has just had of a donkey which sprouted wings and flew up to the top of a church tower. He at once interprets it: the donkey is himself, the wings are his two daughters, the church means a marriage, and the flight to the top of the tower means a rise in the social scale.
Prince Ramiro appears disguised as his own valet. He has come on Alidoro’s advice, to spy out the land. The first person he sees is Cenerentola, and their attraction to each other is instantaneous. Ramiro asks who she is, but in her agitation she can give only a confused account of herself. Cenerentola is once more called away by the stepsisters, and the Baron reappears in gala clothes and is warned by the supposed valet of his master’s approach. Dandini, dressed as the Prince, now enters with the royal suite. He is received with extreme obsequiousness by Don Magnifico and his two daughters, whom he delights by his pretended attentions. He invites them to accompany him in his coach to the ball, and they are on the point of starting when Cenerentola intervenes and begs to be allowed to go too. Her stepfather brutally refuses, explaining to the supposed Prince that she is a creature of the lowest birth. Just then Alidoro reappears, no longer as a beggar, and declares that, according to the parish register, the Baron has three daughters. Where, he asks, is the third one? Don Magnifico, in some embarrassment, explains that she is dead and silences Cenerentola’s protests with threats. Thereupon they all go out, leaving Cenerentola by herself. But a moment later Alidoro returns and tells her that she shall go to the ball after all; he has provided a coach and the richest clothes and jewels. With the reflection that all the world’s a stage he leads her off to the coach.
Scene 2 Prince Ramiro’s palace
Ramiro and Dandini enter with the Baron and his two daughters. Dandini, still in his role of prince, appoints the Baron as Royal Butler and decorates him with the chain of office. There is no sign of a ball. The Baron goes off to inspect the cellars. Ramiro instructs Dandini to test the characters of the two ladies and report to him later. Dandini, left alone with them, does his best to pay equal court to each, and then, overwhelmed by their attention, makes his escape. Don Magnifico celebrates his appointment as Royal Butler by a ritual tasting of the Prince’s wines. He dictates a proclamation to be posted all over the city, forbidding the addition of water to wine for the next 15 years, under pain of death. Overcome by the exercise of his duties, he is carried away by the attendants. Dandini rejoins the Prince and describes the sisters’ vanity and insolence. They presently return, and Dandini, explaining that he can marry only one of them, suggests that the other shall marry his valet. They both indignantly refuse to consider such a plebeian union. Alidoro now approaches and announces the arrival of an unknown and masked lady. The stepsisters show signs of jealousy, which increase at the entrance of the newcomer. She is at last persuaded to remove her mask and everyone is amazed by her beauty. The sisters are struck by her resemblance to Cenerentola. The whole company adjourns to supper.
Scene 1 Prince Ramiro’s palace
Ramiro suspects that Dandini has also fallen in love with the mysterious lady, and conceals himself as they approach. Dandini in fact begins to make love to her, but she rejects his advances and declares that she herself is in love with someone else – with his valet. Ramiro discloses himself; but the lady announces that before they can be betrothed Ramiro must discover who she really is. She gives him one of a pair of bracelets, tells him that she will always wear the other so that he can recognize her by it when he finds her, and departs. Ramiro decides to end his masquerade and resume the attributes of royalty. He decides, too, to follow the unknown lady to the ends of the earth, and goes in pursuit of her. Alidoro, who has been secretly watching events, determines to arrange that the Prince’s coach shall be upset when he is in the neighbourhood of the Baron’s castle. Dandini is now joined by the Baron and, under an oath of secrecy, admits that he is not really the Prince. The Baron’s indignation knows no bounds.
Scene 2 Don Magnifico’s castle
Cenerentola is once more singing to herself by the fire. Her stepsisters, back from the ball, are again struck by her resemblance to the unknown lady. The Baron is raging against the valet, when Dandini rushes in, followed quickly by Ramiro, who is now revealed to everyone as the true Prince. He recognizes the bracelet on Cenerentola’s arm, and, to the surprise and anger of the Baron and his daughters, pronounces her his chosen bride.
The grand salon in Prince Ramiro’s palace Cenerentola, now Ramiro’s bride, proclaims from the throne to the Baron and his daughters that her revenge for their cruelty is to be forgiveness.
Conductor Enrique Mazzola / Thomas Blunt (3, 6 November, 1 December)
Director Peter Hall
Revival Director Lynne Hockney
Designer sets Hildegarde Bechtler
Designer costumes Moritz Junge
Lighting Designer Peter Mumford
Don Ramiro Luciano Botelho
Dandini Joan Martin-Royo
Don Magnifico Jonathan Veira
Angelina Allyson McHardy
Alidoro Paul Whelan
Glyndebourne on Tour Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus